There are a handful of books I’ve read that I’d consider truly life-changing. Grace for the Good Girl, The Screwtape Letters, Last Child in the Woods and In Defense of Food are among those.
And now? I’d add Jen Hatmaker’s 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess to the list as well.
The premise of this book is simple, but the results are anything but.
Jen Hatmaker, author and Bible teacher, took seven months, identified seven areas of excess, and made seven simple choices to fight back against the modern-day diseases of greed, materialism, and overindulgence.
Over the course of seven one-month challenges, she fasted from excess in seven different areas: food, clothes, spending, media, possessions, waste, stress.
This book is a journal of her struggles along the way and the lessons she learned through each fast.
Can you imagine eating just seven foods for an entire month? We have an unbelievable variety of food at our fingertips, while much of the world suffers without enough food for basic nourishment, and yet we take it for granted. What if we took time to actually think about and appreciate every bit of food that went into our mouths?
Or as you look at your closet overflowing with clothes, can you imagine wearing just seven articles of clothing for a month? Without worrying about what other people might think?
While every chapter in this book touched me in some way, it was the possessions chapter that had the most impact on me. I literally cried my way through it, which may seem odd given my focus on decluttering and living as somewhat of a minimalist.
But here’s the thing. You know why I declutter my home so often? For my own sanity. For the peacefulness that comes from not having overflowing shelves and an abundance behind every door.
Jen challenged this thinking so poignantly in this as she talked about the needs not just around the world but in our own communities. As I shovel things out the door and to the closest donation center, she was prayerfully donating items to specific families who needed them. As I wash my hands of all this excess stuff (that seems to find its way into our home time and time again), she is looking for ways to bless individuals and to hold on to items until she can bless someone specifically with that item.
What a selfish stance I’ve taken in the past, thinking only of the effect that stuff has on my own life. I still want to clear that stuff out, but I want to do so for the benefit of others; and I want to sacrificially give to others as well, not just when something happens to be in my way!
Jen’s book is radical, no doubt, and she doesn’t ask her reader to imagine living the rest of their lives with just seven foods or seven items of clothing. The goal is to step back and look at each of these areas with a new sense of clarity and intentionality. To see the waste and the excess and to walk away from those things.
Enter to Win
I received a review copy of 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess for free, but I loved it so much that I want to buy a copy for two Life Your Way readers!
To enter, fill out the form below:
This giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, 5/17. The winner will be selected randomly and notified by email, and this post will be updated with their name as well! Open to U.S. residents 18 years old and above.